Too many floods! How great design can reduce carbon emissions.

Too many floods! How great design can reduce carbon emissions.
I came home from work one Friday in January to find our whare under 50mm of water. After rushing to buy sandbags I fortified my driveway with my mate in the plastering rain while my whānau tried to 'towel' out the flooding.

We are all feeling the impacts from the increase in frequency of extreme weather events aren’t we?

Today I learnt that buildings account for approximately 39% of global carbon emissions. The design decisions architects and designers make can have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of buildings to significantly reduce climate impact, making a meaningful contribution to the fight against climate change.

In te ao Māori is this beautiful principle and practice of being a good tīpuna (ancestor). How might we make kind, compassionate and thoughtful decisions today so that generations after us can thrive for the next thousand years? Below are some projects I thought lived up to this principle from our own backyard I thought might also inspire you:

1. Te Wharehou o Waikaremoana: by Tennent Brown Architects Ltd. Entirely off-grid and self-sufficient, with solar panels and a biomass boiler providing all of the building's energy needs.

2. The Sustainable Coastlines Flagship Education Centre: epic organisation with sustainability built into their DNA. Built using sustainable materials and features rainwater harvesting and solar. Humble but inspiring.

3. Te Pā Tauira - Otago Polytechnic: This student housing by mason and wales architects met Passive House standards. Using minimal energy to heat and cool the building.

4. Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre by WARREN AND MAHONEY. Highly energy-efficient, with a façade designed to minimise heat gain, also includes a green roof and a solar photovoltaic system. But most importantly, it's bloody stunning.

I believe architects and designers have a critical role to play in the fight against climate change. The examples above are but a snapshot of the movement towards climate action that is already well underway in the design and construction space. The road ahead may be daunting but we humans are audacious. In the words of Bill Gates "we often over estimate what we can achieve in one year but underestimate what we can achieve in ten years."

Lastly if you found any of this useful, I run a green building materials company called Critical. and we're passionate about supporting brands, architects and designers create beautiful and sustainable spaces using 100% plastic waste. If you would like to request a materials sample box or have a kōrero, reach out to me by sending me a DM!

#sustainability #climatechange #architecture #greenbuilding
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